'You Can't Outgive God' Cathey's Share Blessings with Oklahoma Christian
Those words, spoken decades ago by a respected friend, presented an enticing challenge for one of OC’s newest campus couples.
For Bill and Barbara Cathey, the challenge has never been to push God, but to prove that giving does not dictate getting.
However, during 53 years of giving together, the Catheys have found it difficult to prove the sentiment wrong.
Though Bill and Barbara are new to the OC campus (they moved to Tealridge, the university’s on-campus retirement community, in 2009), their roots in Edmond run deep.
The two met and married while attending Central State College (now UCO) in the late 50s.
The Catheys’ daughter, Belinda, was born in Edmond, as were the couple’s long careers in education, which extended for more than 30 years in Littleton, Colorado (though Barbara says “Oklahoma has always been home”).
It was in Colorado the Catheys first took to the challenge of outgiving God.
“We started tithing 10 percent, and found we had extra each month,” Bill says. “So we kept increasing our giving, but the extra kept increasing, too.”
And the cycle of blessings continued. They taught in new schools, in a community that was excited about education. Bill coached several winning tumbling teams, and the couple operated a fruitful side business to boot.
After retiring from education, the couple returned to Bill’s hometown of Seminole, Oklahoma, where God led them to the cattle business.
Again, the Catheys found many opportunities to give: they helped children get show calves, assisted in church projects and, through Barbara’s involvement in the Seminole’s chapter of the Oklahoma Christian Women’s Association, they began supporting OC.
But they still found it impossible to keep pace with God’s blessings. Their Silver Top Ranch flourished, growing to 170 head of Limousin cattle and producing what some called the “best cattle sale in Oklahoma.”
Not long after a devastating wildfire, which the Catheys’ home and herd miraculously survived, the couple sold their ranch.
Today, Bill and Barbara are back in Edmond, enjoying the college scene at OC. They continue to give, most recently by creating a generous endowed scholarship through their estate plan.
“We both had scholarships in college and they helped a lot,” Bill says. “No one in our family has been able to do anything like this before. We feel so blessed to do it.”
Through their trust, the Catheys intend to fund up to 40 annual awards for deserving OC students.
“We’ve done many things,” Barbara says, “and this is the only thing left: to give back for God.”
After years of sacrifice and success, the couple happily agrees that “you can’t outgive God.” But that doesn’t mean the Catheys will ever stop trying, and the legacy they leave behind at OC will be an ongoing testament of how God’s blessings – when shared – truly overflow.
View more stories from the Spring 2012 issue of Vision magazine.